Dr. Jessica Dempsey

Dr. Dempsey (University of British Columbia) studies economic and financial approaches to international conservation. This has led her to interview green financiers in fancy New York boardrooms and scientists in paper-stuffed academic offices, study investments in conservation cattle markets in rural Kenya, participate in endless international biodiversity negotiations, and examine the intricacies of ecological-economic models. Dempsey’s book Enterprising Nature (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016) traces the drive to produce a nature that can prove its worth in economic terms – that can compete in the marketplace and the cost-benefit accounting of modern governance. The book finds that this attempt is not one of triumphant ascent but one that faces enormous challenges: technical, scientific, and political. Dempsey’s research is published in a wide range of journals and she has also produced a short animation on this topic (hotlink to it http://www.bioeconomies.org/enterprising-nature/). Her current research program is in dialogue with diverse methodologies and literatures, including political ecology, feminist political economy, economic geography, and green finance.


Sample publications

Dempsey. J. 2016. Enterprising Nature. Wiley-Blackwell.

Dempsey, J. 2015. Fixing biodiversity (loss). Environment and Planning A 47(12): 2555-2572.

Dempsey, J. and D.C. Suarez. 2016. Arrested Development? The Promises and Paradoxes of “Selling Nature to Save It”. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106(3):653–671.

Dempsey, J. 2013. Biodiversity loss as material risk: Tracking the changing meanings and materialities of biodiversity conservation. Geoforum 45: 41-51

Dempsey, J. and M. Robertson. 2012. Ecosystem services: tensions, impurities, and points of engagement within neoliberalism. Progress in Human Geography 36: 758-779.